It would be easy to jump and choose to either “feel good” or “feel bad” about the truth that another year is about to end. I could look at all the published books or the reality that I am deep into learning and loving Ancient Hebrew, but none of those are outcomes with accountability built into them. Let me explain.

As an athletic coach, I assist people with defining goals, creating some accountability, and reviewing the outcomes of their efforts. Essentially, they want their tomorrow efforts to yield better results than today’s efforts. That is why they hired me, and I know how to do that.

However, accountability cares nothing about the words in my last paragraph. Accountability means measurement, and measurement means numbers. That logic must begin with the teacher applying it to himself. Therefore, here is my year in review by measurement and numbers.

To start, I gained 12 pounds this year. In and of itself, that is not a problem compared to the general population. I am still lean and have low body fat due to my muscle mass. However, for racing purposes, those 12 pounds are bad. I can see and feel its impact when I competitively run. I am slower now.

How far did I run in 2021? I ran 491 miles.

How far did I hike/backpack? I walked 162 miles. That was 30 miles more than I expected to.

How far did I bike? I biked about 3600 miles. My average bike ride lasted 2:41. Had I not been tracking my workouts and applying some simple metrics, I would not have guessed that my average ride was that long. I can factually tell that of my numbers.

The numbers continue, and they show a shift in my behavior. I completed 26 hours of strength training. That is about 30 minutes a week.

When people ask, “what are you doing in retirement?” I can speak with numbers that mean something.

Now, it is time to compare these numbers. However, I will not compare them to other people that will not give me the desired effect of refining my efforts. Instead, I will compare them to my previous actions.

I was down 800 miles on the bike. However, I did a lot more travel this year, which took away from my cycling time. I fished and rafted in Alaska, and I hiked the Himalaya in addition to taking care of two foreign exchange students. I choose not to regret the loss.

However, I do regret the reduced strength training. Although my frame is bigger and has more muscle, the muscle could undoubtedly be stronger. To address my regret, I will include more strength training in 2022.

I also need to analyze the events that I participated in. To begin, I did six competitive runs. I got in the top three in my age group on three of the six. Although I teach people not to be concerned about their place against others when they evaluate their effort, most of these races were ones that I have done before. I knew the people, and I knew the course. Comparing results to others in this circumstance makes sense.

I competed in five duathlons. I got on the podium for all the regional events, but I didn’t do well as Nationals, barely making TeamUSA.

However, the big deal events of 2021 were associated with our business at Threshold Academy. We could plan and execute our first Blue Ridge Parkway end-to-end ride, and everyone who participated had a great experience. We didn’t make any money on the event, but we made friends and feel like we are now capable of putting together an end-to-end ride every year. Indeed, we have scheduled another one for next May, and it is half full already.

I also took a group down the Salmon and Aniak River this July for a week of fishing and camping. That was great fun, and everyone who went had an epic experience, more difficult than any fishing trip that they had ever done. I have put another journey like that one (with a different departure city) on the books for 2023.

Lastly, I was able to do a Nepal trek using my protocols. We had several days of lead-in on the lower Himalayan hills before going up to the basecamps, and everyone made it to the top. Last time, less than half made it.    I told my group that this was the first time I had led a Himalayan expedition that no one dropped out. I could not have been prouder.

As I stare at the first set of plans for 2022, there are already many events on the books. Even as I type this, I am grateful that I did not let COVID derail my dreams.

I have local events scattered throughout the winter; that is part of the joy of living in North Carolina.

In March, 14 of us are going cycling in Spain. That week will be nearly 400 miles of cycling and another 10 of running. In April, a part of that group is going to Texas to race in no less than two National Championships and perhaps as many as four. That same group is also skiing in Colorado with our two exchange students. May is another trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

June is notable, as I get to take my wife to her first World Championships, and this year, they are in Romania. Then, I take some friends and family to Quetico Provincial Reserve to camp and fish.

Nelson’s family has invited me to join them for the Alps crossing in August, and I have agreed to go. That should be a great cycling and connection event. It will represent my third trip to Europe over five months.

October is back in Nepal, but we are going to the Langtang Valley this time. I haven’t been to Langtang since 1989! I can’t wait to see Gosaikunda Lake again.

God willing, my cycling miles will increase as I ride on two different multi-day rides. My strength will also increase, mostly from all the at-home tricks I have learned from my physical therapist.

If you made it this far in your read, there are some real basic starter questions.

What are you using to track yourself?

What do the steps on your way to your goal look like?

Can you do it alone, or do you need some help?

You might think that the last line is a sales pitch. It isn’t. I can’t take on any more customers, as I am at my threshold for supporting athletes. However, there are many good coaches who know a lot more than I do who are ready and willing to help.

I hope you enjoy planning and executing 2022 as much as I did in 2021.